Objective: Mucosal inflammation in ulcerative colitis (UC) is presumed to be regulated by Th2-like cytokines. The aim of this study was to characterize local expression of various cytokines mRNA.
Methods: Total RNA was extracted from rectal biopsy specimens in 61 patients with UC, 18 inflammatory controls, and 16 noninflammatory controls. Reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) was used to determine mRNA expression of interleukin (IL)-2, interferon (IFN)-gamma, IL-4, IL-10, IL-13, and IL-15.
Results: Expression of IL-10 was more frequent in UC (75.4%) than in noninflammatory controls (37.5%, p < 0.01). IL-4 was more frequently positive in UC (41%) than in inflammatory controls (5.6%, p < 0.01) and in noninflammatory controls (6.3%, p < 0.01). Positive expressions of IL-4 (66.7% vs 20.6%, p < 0.01) and IL-13 (63.0% vs 29.4%, p < 0.01) were higher in active UC than in inactive UC. The positive rate of IL-2, interferon (IFN)-gamma, and IL-15 expression showed no difference among the groups divided by clinical, endoscopic, and histological grade of inflammation.
Conclusions: These findings suggest that in active UC, IL-4 is pivotal, in combination with other Th2-like cytokines. In contrast, Th1-like cytokines and IL-15 bear no definite relation to local inflammation of UC.